I’m often asked by Realtors if they should be on Facebook or Instagram or both and the answer is a solid “it depends”.

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Although Instagram is just six years younger than Facebook, it seems to be the platform more people are talking about. But that doesn’t mean Facebook is disappearing. There are still good reasons to use it.

In terms of demographics, there’s more overlap than there used to be, but there are still more people over 45 using Facebook than Instagram. (source: Statista)

A little information about Facebook users:

  • 25 million Canadians have Facebook accounts (Statista)
  • Two-thirds of Canadian Facebook users check the site daily (Facebook)
  • 86 per cent of internet users with $100,000+ income use Facebook (Sproutsocial)

In terms of usability, you can post anything you like on Facebook. Links, listings, videos, photos, polls, anything you can view online, you can post on Facebook (except for a PDF). While you should be sharing some original content, you can also share third-party content (think HGTV, CBC or REM) so you don’t have to be creating all your own material.

A little information about Instagram users:

  • 13.2 million users in Canada (Statista)
  • 41 per cent of Instagram users in Canada are over 35 (Statista)
  • 81 per cent of people use Instagram to help research products and services (Hootsuite)

You’re limited to posting photos and short videos on Instagram, but there are more places to post: feed, stories, IGTV and reels, Instagram’s answer to TikTok.

It’s easier to generate a following and get engagement (or at least likes) on your posts on Instagram. The analytics are really easy to see on each post. The challenge is that if you want to gain traction on Instagram, it’s more hands-on. You’ll have to be willing to spend time looking people up to follow them, understanding how hashtags work and figuring out a plan to create your own content, though it’s fairly straight-forward (think a combination of house tours, photos and short videos).

The benefit to using both platforms is that you’ll be reaching more people, but the catch is that you should ideally be posting different content on each channel, although there can be some overlap.

In terms of advertising, Facebook pulled the rug out from Realtors in December. Previously, you could target an ad to different postal codes, you could narrow down by age, you could advertise to people living in a radius around a certain address or location and you could exclude people, so you weren’t advertising to fellow Realtors.

That’s changed. You now have to self-identify your ad as housing (if you don’t, the Facebook bots are going to catch you and reject your ad). You have to advertise to people aged 18 to 65+ and you have to advertise to the entire city plus a 15-mile radius. You can still advertise to people who like your page and their friends, and you can narrow it down by interest. If you’re comfortable using the Facebook Ad Manager rather than the boost button, you may find better results that way and you can advertise on both Facebook and Instagram that way.

The decision about whether to use Facebook or Instagram or both comes down to both demographics and time. If your clients skew a little younger (under 45) and you have the time or interest to be creating content, you’ll see better results on Instagram. If you’re dealing with clients who are mostly 35 and up, they’re going to be found on Facebook.


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